I received a letter yesterday from Jose. Yamileisy wrote it as he is too young yet. She answered every question. When I decided to sponsor Jose, I immediately put together a small welcome package. I made a page size poster all boyish, with his picture in the middle and a special message to him and printed it on photo paper. I printed pictures of my trip there and he was in them (that way he would recognize ME, the one who visited, as his sponsor!) I made library labels for books that I would be sending him, stickers, etc. So when he got my first letter he already knew me. It was great to surprise them. I recently sent him some more books, BLUE t-shirt (my guess for color was right on!) and some small Power Ranger figures. He hasn't gotten them yet. I found the figures on Ebay and they are actually collectibles and from 1995 still in the package for $4.99! (Any collector would die to know that I threw away the new condition box and just sent the figures only to save space). To a little boy in the Dominican it doesn't matter that its a collectible or not! And to me it was worth it. He'll be happy with them. Here is his letter:
It was a surprise to know that you are sponsoring my brother. Thanks! He is in the first grade. He likes to go to school. He likes the books that you brought him. We loved your visit. We would like you to visit us again. My mother wants to meet you. Jose plays baseball with Victor. His favorite color is blue. With lots of affection,
Yamileisy and Jose Manuel, your sponsored children.
I brought a special silver locket with our pictures in it. I hope she keeps it forever. She loved getting it and wears it in all her photos now. She wants me to know how much it means to her. I thought it was a great idea to bring a girl! Oh how I could spoil her!
Glenn with an admirer in Santiago. She wanted her picture taken too!
Jen and I with the children in Santo Domingo .
Me, Jose Manuel and Yamileisy at the mall.
This is the inside of their house. Notice the little gas stove top on the table? (Her doll I brought her is on top of it in a basket) That is their cooking source and they do have a small fridge, no sinks! The house is about 8-10 feet wide. There were 11 of us in there to visit. There are no open windows, only corrugated tin in the openings and it WAS hot!
Just a note about the photo with the header title above. That's me in the foreground of Yamileisy and Jose Manuel's tiny block home in Santo Domingo. Notice the buckets on the side of the house? That's what they use to collect and carry their water from the community water source. Notice the hanging laundry? Think how difficult it would be to wash clothes, sheets, etc. in a bucket with the water that you had to carry all the way home. Do you realize how heavy a bucket of water is? I can't wait for them to get the running water and toilet they so desperately need. Their mother, Yocasta, works all day in a factory and their father, Victor, is a truck driver. I can only imagine how it will change their lives for the better. One child at a time...........I CAN make a difference.
This is the sweetest family ever! We had a wonderful day with them. The whole neighborhood greeted us. I think they all
cleaned the streets in front of their homes. They all loaned chairs so that we could all sit and watch the kids play. See Joelito in front of me? He told the driver that he wanted to walk with me and asked if it was alright. He really took to me and I to him. How could I NOT sponsor such a sweet child? That's mama, Wendy, in the middle,a very charming lady and a great daddy there too in Joel! Jen got the little guy, Elias, a toddler size Mr. Potato Head! He carried it everywhere and showed all his friends. He even took his mitt to pizza with us. A day I'll never forget. Those children touch my heart and give me a great feeling to know them. I hope it is a forever relationship.
I know this blog is about my sponsored children but let me tell you about my daughter, Jen. When she was a little girl of 11 in 1995 she saw the Children International commercial on TV. It touched her heart and she wanted to sponsor a child. I know there are many organizations out there so I did some research and have never regretted our decision to sponsor through them. She was given Garis who was 3 years old at the time. She used her allowance and babysitting money to pay what started out as $11 a month. During those years I helped her with the birthday, Easter, Christmas and Special Hug gifts as she couldn't do it all. She kept every letter and photo all these years. At age 14 Garis no longer needed her help so CI gave her Waidy also from the DR. What a great choice that was! Jen always dreamed of going to the DR to visit. Well, Jen graduated from college and her gift from us was a trip to the DR to visit Waidy. CI also set it up to visit with Garis too! (after being gone from the program for several years) So off we went, Jen and her boyfriend Sal, Glenn and I, on a 2 week cruise through the Panama Canal with 5 1/2 extra suitcases with gifts for our sponsored families and the children of the villages. (When you cruise you can take as much luggage as you want!LOLOLOLOL) This particular cruise was repositioning to the port in Santo Domingo, DR. That's why I chose it. My child lives there and Jen's in Santiago. After a great cruise and visiting several different countries we stayed on in the DR for 4 days. What I thought I was doing was giving our daughter her dream come true. BUT in reality I gave myself the most amazing experience that I will never forget! The feeling in your heart when you see your child for the first time is undescribable. And when I left I wanted to take her with me. I plan on going again someday soon. This time I have to fly so I won't be able to take as many gifts but I will do my best as there are so many children that appreciate what little thing you give them. Its a great feeling. I'll just pack less clothing. You don't need much in the DR in January as its very hot!
As we walked along the city streets taking the family for pizza Joelito put his arm around me and never left my side. I'm sure it must be difficult to watch your brother get all the letters and gifts from Jen. When I look at this photo it makes me think of him so much and the great family he has. After much consideration I took it upon myself to call CI to see if he is sponsored yet and he's not. Or should I say "wasn't" until now. I decided that with Jen and I sponsoring in the same family we could do so much more. I chose Joeltio over the younger adorable little brother because he is 11 years old and I felt he needed the help more at his age. The little one will still benefit as we will always include him in our gifts. I can't wait to get my first letter from him since he already knows me by my recent visit. I think it will make it easier for him to write me.
Waidy was Jen's replacement child when Garis left the program. He's such a sweet boy with a wonderful family. His papa speaks a little bit of English. Waidy writes the sweetest letters. He starts to write smaller towards the end so that he can write more. He was thrilled with his baseball and glove. She also brought one for his brothers and papa.
This is Garis. Jen started sponsoring him when she saw a CI commercial in 1995 when she was 11 years old. She used her allowance and babysitting money and never gave up sponsoring him for 11 years! Of course as her mom I'd help out with the extra gifts, etc. Garis no longer needed sponsorship by the time he was 14 in 2006. However, CI arranged for us to meet him on our recent trip to the Dominican to visit our other sponsored children. He spent the whole day with us. Jen took him to the mall and bought him some new jeans and shirts. Then we all went for pizza. I'm so happy CI made it possible to meet with him.
I've had the privilege of joining a group sponsorship for a little girl from Mexico named Paola. We couldn't resist her sad face and terrible living conditions. Paola is 4. She also has a baby sister and a six year old sister. Paola's father is "ausente" meaning "absent". The mother is raising 3 young girls on her own and works as a laborer for $95 a month! How she works & does it on her own is any one's guess! We decided that she needed help desperately and now! There are 9 of us so she will be very well taken care of. This is something new that we are trying, but anything to help a small child is worth a try. So stay tuned to hear more about Paola.
I was pleased and surprised to be published on Children International's website. Cut and paste to read it.
My Lift One Sponsor Page
Check out my page....cut and paste
Just a thought to pass along
"I am only one; but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do." Helen Keller
I'm a married retired mother of three grown children, Chad 36, Jennifer 25, and Jedediah 22. We have been sponsoring children in the Dominican Republic for 14 years. We just returned in January 2009 from our first trip to visit our sponsored children, Yamileisy and Garis in Santo Domingo and Waidy in Santiago. It was an amazing trip that has inspired me to do more. I've since taken Yamileisy's little brother Jose Manuel as my sponsored child. To actually meet them was an incredible feeling and so hard to leave at the end of the day. I hope to go back very soon.